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Little Warrior is a inter-contextual fashion editorial with the source of inspiration being a combination of many areas such as philosophy, psychology, film and photography. One of the main focuses are the character attributes of the figure or character of this young warrior will be playing. I had always found a fascination with public figures within the film industry both on and perhaps more interestingly, off camera. One of these fascinating characters is James Dean. The rebellious, cool, loner with an unpredictable personality. My attraction grew when I was introduced to the work of Dennis Stock who had been commissioned early in James Deans career to document his life. The collaboration latest right till his infamous death, but what was especially important as inspiration for this project were the images captured by Stock during that period. He captured these rare moments and showed the change in his personality on and off the screen. The combination of loner and growing star I felt represented how I feel about this young figure. She is clearly going to become an immerging talent and she has a similar unpredictable nature to her that’s infamous about James Dean. But really the influence from Dennis Stocks and James Dean’s collaboration stops simply as an underlining theme that’s present in there personality of the young warrior. The idea of a young warrior came from a back story I wrote for the character. Something I used when directing. Instead of asking the model for generic fashion poses a typical response to a fashion editorial; I gave her a personality to in-

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By the time we actually started shooting things were pretty much organised bar a few items of clothes we were unable to source or did not arrive. Direction and on breaking the forth wall, on many occasion I have asked the model to break the forth wall and stare directly at the audience. This is to place the audience in the position of the person near by and would in turn experience the innocence or defensive nature of the character rather than seemingly observing into the frame simply as a viewership. Composition, there was a very conscious decision to produce a very uniform style to the series, a symmetry and often a long shot composition. This was used to reinforce the scale

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habit. Much like herself but heightened and manipulated slightly. The story was of a young girl left hopelessly isolated after her older brother had been killed by circumstances never full explained to her, all she knows is that the person who looked out for her and protected her had left her now exposed. This has meant shes had to build her own ways of coping with this change by adapting her character, now becoming far more detached from others (not allowing herself to become attached in fear of losing others) and putting up a defensive wall as protection. I wanted her to become a “little warrior”. Someone who is fully capable of taking care of herself and fighting her own battles. But who’s frailty and innocence still bleed out uncontrollably. The fashion elements of the shoot are meant to be an electric mix of feminine and boyish theme’s showing her tough and soft sides. I also wanted to add a slight homage to things I’m really enjoying style wise and felt would work on a dramatic level in this shoot on such a young face. Elements of Persian/ Greek god like accessories with lots of gold and silver. I have honest to my style throughout, making sure even the fashion elements have my voice. The locations I have chosen are means of reinforcing the loner persona by using barren or vast landscapes that will emphasise the tiny figure. This will be further reinforced by the composition of each shot being very central and the majority being establishing shots showing the figure on full length.

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of location which would emphasise the little nature of her figure. Method acting, before we began the process I explained the back story of the character to her, allowing her instead to inhabit the character rather than look for direction on each location. Allowing her to interact with the environments and find that sombre, isolated feeling along with the thought provoked by the back story mentioned at the start of the introduction but to also allow room for her to either consciously or sub consciously introduce element of her personality.


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From inception I had always envisioned this project being shot on medium format to deliver the scale and aesthetic I felt would reinforce the subject matter. I used the Mamiya RZ67 with Sekor 110mm loaded with Kodak Portra 160, 400 and 800 throughout the series.

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The image that started it all off, which had actually been captured weeks before we shot Little Warrior, this image established why I firstly chose to utilise medium format and secondly gave me the story behind shoot. With the oversized leather jacket which I had been wearing it occurred to me to base something around the theme of a young girl who idolised her brother and to establishes this through her style. Dressing like a Tomboy and with her Androgynous features it felt like it could be developed into a strong concept to pursue.


Last shot, last roll of 135 on the first day. India wrapped in a tarten blanket as the sun sets and the cold air stregthens. You get a subtle glimpse at the suns dying glow on her face whist everything begins to turn to twilight blue.


A selection of outtakes taken from the Little Warrior series. Some of which ironically are some of my favourites but did not feel right as a final showcase. The series includes some additional behind the scene information about styling, each shot and technical aspects of the shoot.


India giving her best i-D pose, but as she wasn’t aware of the “i-D wink”, some direction was needed but she soon took it to her own level giving both a cool and goofy interpretation.


Previous page left: A lot of experimenting still took place when styling on location. India poses wearing the slightly adapted ‘Wild One’ outfit with added chocolate on the left leg which was India’s touch on the outfit. Previous page right: A short pause to stretch and take the weight off her feet at the final location on the second and final day. The original shoot was never intended to continue into a second day.

Right: Before wrapping up on the third location India runs away to jump and climb the Half-pipe making her queen of the castle. A harder task given the oversized boots we chose her to wear.


Trying her best to ignore the gold laurel crown that got tangled up in her hair on what was a extremely windy day. I asked the assistant to stand in front to try and shield some of the wind but instead produced this really dynamic shadow cast across her.


Perhaps my favourite of all the full frame shots. This image has always reminded me of Miami, perhaps because of the subtle architectural features in the background. I was surprised at how subtle the addition of a gold nose ring chain looked on such a young face, I had always expected it to be a powerful and dramatic appearance but the subtly works just as well and ages her in a way which reinforced that young warrior theme. This images sparked a strong resemblance to the musician Grimes. We ended up using the crown on the next location also, which I had for over a year sitting waiting for this exact purpose. We also continued to use the nose ring on it’s own but managed to lose it on the second to last location on the final day.


Opposite: A shot taken from the wardrobe shoot. Although the session was focused on getting the right looks ready for the shoot I loved the idea of having a shoot within a shoot, turning the wardrobe images into it’s own series. The medium format shots I also took in parallel were very under exposed with heavy contrast, which I put down to my inexperience using film at the time. Because of this underexposure there was a lot of colour casting which made it impossible to colour correct, and I’m obsessed with colour correction being as spot on as possible . Its definitely a strong decision maker when selecting images, which is why I’ve scrapped those image now that featured in the original edition.


The Napoleon outfit doing her best Napoleon pose on the coast of Brighton. A location that I had never intended to use because I hated pebbles and how they look aesthetically, especially in colour as they ruin the tone of an image. I also didn’t want a cliché coastal image of Brighton, it was very important to me that I shot it differently and instead turned my camera away from it’s iconic features.


Last shot on the first day; India wraps herself up in a blanket that took me months to source and eventually buy. I thought that the warm yet muted tones would work well against the natural twilight. With everything turning blue the sun gave us a final subtle glow that assisted in warmed this image.


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Although the shoot had always originally been intended showcase a mixture of medium format and thirty-five millimetre but I felt that the medium format series worked better separated from these and I instead decided to form a separate 35mm version of the shoot which I shot in parallel to the medium format over the two days. I love the contrast between them both. The medium format has very clean, sharp characteristics whereas full frame is super soft as I often shot very wide, they have a haze and dream like quality that sets them apart from medium format. I used the Olympus OM with Zuiko 50mm loaded with Kodak Portra 160, 400 and 800 throughout the series.

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Perhaps the biggest scale production I’ve ever attempted, which started with collecting and sourcing clothing I liked. A process made easier by the fact I was not going to actually shoot this officially for weeks which gave me time to collect vital pieces that were very clear from the outset. Custom items such as the nose ring chain, something that I had envisioned as a single visual a while before starting this project but felt this would be a perfect opportunity to implement it especially on such a young face. The sourcing come together quite quickly and a lot of the clothes I would eventually used actually came from my own wardrobe as they fit the older brother element that underlined the series. After sourcing as much as I could the next stage would be to have a wardrobe shoot or fitting session to try the variations I had thought about. Unfortunately a lot of the items did not arrive until after this day so we had to just visualise those or use similar clothing in the mean time. The following we I returned to Brighton for location scouting, a full day of cycling along the coast. I had

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pre-scouted using Google Maps but of course there would be nothing better than seeing the locations first hand and being able to properly visualise the compositions, the best backdrops to use, props or features that we could incorporate etc. It was a productive day and it reaffirmed the pre scouting I had done. Another important aspect to seeing the locations first hand would be all about timing. Many of the location being coastal changed dramatically throughout the day, obviously by the change in the tide. It was therefore important to workout the time in which the tide would be out or in. In some cases I wanted the tide to be in crashing against the boulders and on other occasions I wanted the tide right out to get the vast beaches and rocks that lay underneath. I could then take the two pre production elements and combine them, start to figure out which location would best suited which outfit or visa versa and then to finally work out times to hit each location. Taking into consideration light, colour of the clothes, the tide. It became a massive headache and a bit of an obsessive compulsive tendency.


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A modern twist on a Greek god that screams punk. The additions of multiple gold accessories and jewellery reinforce this ancient god like appearance. Although the photo at this point does not show it, there is also a gold nose ring and chains connected to a earring cuff at the top of the ear that will really turn this outfit into the dramatic look I had envisioned. Changes I might make would be to change the trousers from red to black so the outfit looks more like one seamless fit and in turn might bring the gold details out making them even more dramatic.


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A few navel themes are running through this look, the navy Aran jumper traditionally worn by fishermen and the additional floral bandana accessory can be associated with pirates or shipmates. This is then further reinforced by the addition of gold jewellery which also shares a common association with pirates also adding to the running theme throughout each look of a young warrior. I think this look would separate itself even more by exchanging the gold bracelets that feature heavily in other looks with silver bracelets and rings.


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The look most influenced by “Warrior” themes, more specifically native American tribes. Something that had been reinforced once I had shown people this outfit they also attributed that association with the look. The bandana’s origins began as a practical accessory however in subculture soon became adopted by gangs as a means of distinguishing each others groups. This has also adapted by gangs and also worn on the arm or leg. Although there is a lot of meaning behind the individual aspects of the outfit, simply the overall look for me instantly evoked the imagery of a young native warrior and the name stuck.


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One look I had envisioned from the start was having an entire white look, breaking up the harder more boyish outfits with something that has more traditionally feminine qualities. White is also commons associated with innocence purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the colour of perfection. I think this look will work well in direct contrast to the entire black look that features elements from “Wild One” and “Xerxes” outfits. However on its own it seems quite bland and may benefit from the addition of some gold accessories, perhaps even reusing the jewellery used in the Xerxes look to create a real connection idea between the good and the bad.


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In America young boys often wore oversized basketball or baseball jerseys to prove that they had older brothers to protect them. This idea is translated into this outfit, the use over oversized clothes add a hard edge however underline a sense of venerability. I have chosen a leather jacket instead of a jersey simply because I prefer the association to be with the classic images of “The Wild One� and the rebellious nature of bikers rather than basketball which I felt would look out of place in this series.


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A selection of images taken during the wardrobe shoot and fitting session in Brighton.

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I’ve had a small obsession with gold, I’ve always liked clean blocks of it and loved how they look as accessories especially plain cuffs and rings. I’ve also always loved gold leaf and floral patterns you used to see on old navel uniforms. Here we have India trying some of those accessories for the first time. The rings were a little to large for her small fingers which meant they fell off a lot but we managed to keep them on long enough to get the shots we needed. We also used exact copies of this style but in silver that we ended up using for the Napoleon outfit. We shot all of the wardrobe series either in or just outside of Dinky Vintage; a wonderful little shop owned by Grace dedicated to fashion for kids . Even though small it made for a great studio backdrop.


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It’s been one year since photographing what was my most ambitious series to date. It became instrumental for many reasons the first was for being the shoot that confirmed my loyalty to photo chemical photography as my creative tool. Although the initial passion had been fuelled by a very similar shoot that originally inspired “Little Warrior” when I placed my oversized leather jacket onto the model. From there I’ve not touched digital and have bought my own Mamiya RZ67 that I usually reserved from my University and my own Olympus OM-10 With it being my first exploration into film it was fraught with mistakes, some which at the time were hard to pinpoint, but now with experience they are clearly evident in my minds eye. Things like colour correction that I give myself a very simple law to obey, which is to get a pictures as close as possible to the reality of the scene and that proved increasingly difficult for

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two reasons. The first was the fact I did not use a colour card making finding a neutral point in the frame difficult. Secondly and perhaps the most damaging was the fact I had scanned images in individually and all with subtle changes making it almost impossible to create a consistent edit across a same location and that was one of the main reasons for being reluctant when showcasing much of the material captured for this series. Since then I’ve become much more experienced in this process, although still by no means perfected it; in fact far from it, but it’s a far more natural workflow I’ve adopted that I seemingly improve with each scanning session.


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PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN BY SAMUEL CHRISTOPHER MODEL INDIA @ KIDS LONDON STYLING BY SAMUEL CHRISTOPHER & GRACE ELIZABETH LOTT ASSISTANED BY MARTYN DOHERTY & GRACE ELIZABETH LOTT

SAMUEL CHRISTOPHER © All rights reserved


SAMUEL CHRISTOPHER.

Little Warrior  

Little Warrior

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